3 min read

Growing the wireless market

How to access agnostic broadband applications for success

Fox Group continues to take a leading role by testing and validating emerging networking technologies. Our view is from a business/operations perspective and how technology can provide efficient communications, and improve business processes.

The benefits of the appropriate application of VoIP in the workplace have been well documented. Recently, Fox Group has focused on testing various 1xEVDO solutions as an emerging technology and a business enabler.

There are strong analogies between the evolution of 1xEVDO in the wireless environment and ADSL in the wired world. 1xEVDO is evolving into another access medium for IP/MPLS and VoIP applications. The initial 1xEVDO cards provided downloads in excess of 1 mbps and uploads in the order of 120 kbps. There was no QoS and latency precluded these devices as being appropriate for VoIP applications.

The next evolution of EVDO (Rev A) will begin to include VoIP as a possible application. In June 2006, a Qualcomm press release indicated that they had successfully field tested multiple VoIP calls in a single EVDO sector. Certainly, these tests were performed in a captive environment, but as an evolving technology, improved voice carrying characteristics will allow EVDO to evolve as an access technology for the wireless environment.

What does this mean to the user?

As 1xEVDO continues to evolve, it becomes another component in a suite of services that include WiFi, WiMax, ADSL, and Ethernet as a delivery mechanism for IP/MPLS services. As a business person, the concern is whether or not there is a case for 1xEVDO as a business tool. By extension, there must be a business case for service providers to continue to commit scarce capital dollars deploying this technology. In order for the technology to bring value, it must be reliable and reasonably ubiquitous in the network.

As a user, the purchase of Broadband services should not be a technology conversation, but a discussion about solutions to business issues. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the service providers to ensure that the IP services are positioned as a solution rather than a basket of technologies.

What are “Access Agnostic Broadband Applications?”

IP/MPLS has become the industry choice for the delivery of broadband services. Just a few years ago, it would have been impossible to deliver this type of service without the installation of a dedicated IP connection. In the wire line world, ADSL and Cable Modems have evolved so that the services that bring value to the technology can be delivered in a shared platform without unreasonable degradation to the service levels. Latency and jitter, which seriously affected wire line based VoIP services a couple of years ago have largely been overcome in the network.

Similarly, 802.11 services are now sufficiently robust that wireless voice communications in a campus environment have become commonplace. As the 1xEVDO approaches these levels of quality and reliability, it will not matter which technology has delivered the service.

What is the potential business payoff?

Clients are willing to pay for reliable services that are designed to fit their lifestyle choices. In many cases, lifestyle choices drive the business requirements that rely on technology services. It is a lifestyle choice that resulted in Fox Group establishing their corporate headquarters in the rural area of Mt. Albert, Ontario.

The technology requirements of this move have driven many of the decisions relative to the purchase of goods and services necessary to support the organization. Similarly, as less technically savvy users decide to grow, consolidate or evolve their business models, it will be “solutions” that drive technology purchases.

Summary

The successful service provider will be able to provide a smooth integration of wire line and multiple wireless based services to widen their footprint and provide value added voice 3G and IP multimedia services without multiple purchases and from multiple vendors by the client.

Bill Elliott is a director at Fox Group Telecom Consulting. Bill welcomes your feedback. He can be contacted at bill.elliott@foxgroup.ca or call him at 905-473-3369.